Iran makes first Africa step in a decade

Lazy eyes listen


Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday to a red carpet welcome from Kenyan counterpart William Ruto, kicking off a three-nation visit of East Africa.

The visit is designed to establish “closer interaction with African countries,” “diversify Iran’s export destinations,” and “create more grounds for political and commercial cooperation,” according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

Raisi’s trip to Africa comes after former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Benin, Niger, and Ghana in 2013.

The president will also visit Uganda and Zimbabwe during his trip, which Tehran has termed as a “new beginning” in relations with the continent, which it has called a “land of opportunities” and “fortune.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, stated that Africa’s mineral riches and economic potential in numerous sectors, as well as the Islamic Republic’s, give “important ground for both sides to develop interests and profit from the existing capacities.”

President Ruto of Kenya said that Tehran has agreed to increase Kenya’s research and technology initiatives in manufacturing, health, and the blue economy.

The two countries also agreed to significant memorandums of understanding (MoUs) in agriculture, livestock, culture and heritage, information, information and communications, fisheries and housing, and urban development.

“Kenya is eager to increase trade volumes with Iran,” Ruto said, adding that Nairobi will export agricultural products and tea to Tehran, “which will also serve as a key entry point to Central Asian countries.”

The president of the Islamic Republic is slated to visit South Africa in the “near future,” according to the country’s foreign ministry.

Raisi visited Latin America last month after visiting Indonesia the month before, all as part of an endeavor to strengthen its diplomatic outreach to underdeveloped countries, where dozens of agreements were struck. The leader slammed the United States’ actions, particularly the economic restrictions imposed on Iran and its Latin American allies.

Since 2018, when then-President Donald Trump abandoned a multilateral nuclear agreement and reimposed economic penalties on Tehran, Iran has been subject to US sanctions.

Iran was admitted to full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization earlier this month, becoming the organization’s ninth member since its inception in 2001. China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are members of the intergovernmental group, which promotes cooperation in the areas of politics, security, trade, economy, finance, and technology.